I’ve had an exceptional summer. Probably the best since becoming an adult. I’ve gotten to see my daughter graduate, have all my kids together for a celebration, and now my daughter is staying with us while she job hunts.
It’s been a great garden year, with plentiful roses and calla lilies, a surprising raspberry crop, the discovery of new tomato variants that added color and sweetness to my salads, two new raised cedar beds and the addition of longed-for blueberry and–be still my heart–huckleberry bushes.
In among my blissful garden days, Tim and I have taken hikes on the Coast and in the Gorge, discovered birds and trees we’ve never seen before, and cooked hot dogs on the beach under the watchful eye of a local bald eagle on the Fourth of July.
We’ve picked berries and flowers, worked in the garden and the community orchard, watched a go-cart race down an ancient cinder cone in town, and gone to estate sales in beautiful old homes overlooking the city just so we could see inside.
Our daily routine gives us time for a nightly visit with Rachel Maddow, whose detailed and factual coverage of the daily shitstorm from President Capslock helps us understand what’s going on in a greater context. After the show, we sit on the deck beneath our twinkle lights and enjoy the quiet of the meadow behind our home.
The summer was divided into smaller seasons based on what was ripe and fresh: strawberry and pea season, then raspberries and asparagus, roses and snapdragons and callas, blackberries and watermelon, tomatoes peppers and onions. I’m clipping the ends off green beans right now, a couple of pounds from Sauvie Island, because rabbits ate all my bean plant leaves before they could fruit. Such a loss is usury, but I consider it the cost of planting seeds in the place where rabbits live. They can have the bean leaves this year; next year I’ll offer some other delectable for their thievery.
At least I have an excuse to go to Sauvie Island.
Such reasons haven’t been necessary this summer, when I’ve managed day trips to Opal Creek Wilderness, a three-hour float on the Clackamas, and some toe-dipping in the Columbia on the beach on Sauvie Island just as the hot spell ended. If I can be outside in the sunshine, I am happy. If it’s hot, I’m giddy. If I’m in the water, it’s nirvana. This summer has had it all.
And what a respite it’s been to have the distraction of nature amid the national horrors. I am aware of how lucky I am to have such luxuries, and grateful that my combined part-time work has amounted to enough of a household contribution as to stave off seeking full-time employment. And as one part-time gig meets its finish line, another literally begins tonight, my luck uninterrupted.
And now I begin a new season of my own, one that promises more growth and progress and intellectual expansion. I join a class in late September that will help me build the skills to develop a curriculum I’ve dreamed of creating, I’m signed up for my first writing retreat, and I am studying in earnest to take the LSAT. It may seem like many directions at once, but it all pushes forward, onward, no time to dally. It is all connected in me, to me, the purpose of collecting unto myself the tools for building the things I want to see in the world; bringing balance by ending male dominance over our society, working toward fairness for people with disabilities, and writing about the beauty and pain and humanity I witness along the way.
At the end of this wondrous summer, I go back to school again, in my own way. I’ll end this perfect season making peach jam and snacking on crisp, fresh green beans from a bowl on my counter. I have a life crowded with challenge and passion and energy, and I can’t wait to see what happens this fall.